Fintech trends according to IC Group: smart payouts, blockchain and artificial intelligence
The financial world and banking are traditionally conservative segments. But the phenomenon of technology is bringing a fresh wind to them. What are the latest trends in fintech according to Zuzana Stehlíková from IC Group?
The term Embedded Finance, or Banking as a Service, is used for banking and payment services integrated into other environments and ecosystems. This solution opens up additional possibilities for people to use financial services or make purchases. An example is the "Pay Later" service, where clients can choose to pay "later" on e-commerce sites through a third-party credit. And financial institutions can reach new target groups in this way, without additional investment.
In the last year, this financial trend has been booming and well positioned for further growth as many banks are increasingly looking to provide the aforementioned services to non-banks and non-financial institutions. For these, this is a great advantage and the next step in enhancing the customer experience, which then simply includes financial services as part of a broader offering. Young start-ups and established banking houses can thus provide an ever wider range of services to customers without the need for costly investments related to new product development or licensing.
Traditionally, the fintech field has focused more on consumer-to-merchant payments, but this too is changing. Currently, more elegant solutions for financial transactions are going mainstream and may appeal to consumers. For example, let's mention payout options such as salary advances, e-money payouts, crypto payouts or early payouts. These innovations represent significant opportunities and can be expected to play an important role in the field of financial innovation and practices in the near future.
The return of banking innovation
According to Accenture's "Top 10 Banking Trends for 2022" study, the decade following the Great Financial Crisis was a period of downturn, during which many banks stepped back from introducing new products and focused more on getting the existing ones right. However, start-ups and digital firms have stepped in and found promising areas of growth that had been neglected by traditional financial institutions.
However, the new situation brought about by the Metalloid era has forced banks to get creative in their defence. For example, two large global banking institutions have integrated their APIs for treasury services into Stripe's payment platform, which is part of the Shopify e-commerce platform. Their clients can then pay on this platform completely seamlessly and conveniently.
Blockchain as a service (BaaS)
Blockchain has become an increasingly inflected word in recent years, even in the mainstream financial world. It is no wonder that progressive companies are bringing with them a new trend. Blockchain as a service BaaS is a cloud-based solution that allows customers to work with blockchain to create their digital products. These digital goods can be smart contracts, decentralized applications (Dapps) or even other services that don't require the entire blockchain infrastructure to function.
However, through specially designed cloud platforms, it is possible to create architectures that are completely independent and decentralised. Thus, innovations are rapidly being introduced into our daily lives and are actively evolving.
Blockchain, then, can significantly help economic growth in the coming years, according to PWC analysis. The main application areas that should drive this growth are tracking and controlling financial transactions, providing financial services or creating contracts.
Infusion of artificial intelligence and machine learning
From traditional institutions deploying "robo-advisors and communicators" to advanced algorithms assessing a loan applicant's risk, fintech companies will continue to expand and refine their use of AI and machine learning. Artificial intelligence will increasingly predict consumer behavior. Thus enabling companies to better target products and services, as well as use more effective sales channels or marketing tools.
As the popularity of mobile phones grows and they have become the primary means of communication, planning, reading, lifestyle and financial planning, banks are now demanding more complex AI software for them to improve customer service and banking processes.
From loss to expansion. Tesla, a supplier of radios for the Czech army, has been taken over by a Malaysian royal fund
The Royal Investment Fund of Malaysia (RIFK) has completed the acquisition of electrical supplier Tesla by entrepreneur František Hala, who will remain on the board and participate in the company's operations. Tesla is a general supplier of radio equipment and military electrical equipment to the Czech army. The investment fund wants to support the company's further expansion, but neither party has specified the price of the transaction.
"Tesla is a company with a long history of developing and manufacturing many successful products. I am therefore glad that this traditional company will continue in this direction and that its future is assured," says František Hála, the original owner of the company and the new president of Tesla Central Holding.
The connection technology produced by the company also has civil applications - it supplies, among other things, low-current systems and structured networks and services security equipment and systems. Its history dates back to 1921, and foreign investors took over the company again after ten years. In 2012, it returned to Czech hands when Irish investment company Kilcullen Kapital Partners sold it to eight Czechs, including Hala, who had previously owned the company.
Both parties decided not to disclose the value of the transaction, under strict legal confidentiality. However, the planned investment of technology and investment funds will amount to billions of Czech crowns.
The fund also wants to support the company's further expansion. "We look forward to expanding Tesla's unique technologies and products even further around the world, both in existing markets, which are currently 95 countries, and in new territories, such as South Asia, where we have a strong presence and operations," adds Martin Klouček, President of Royal Capital Club, the investment platform under the Royal Malaysian Investment Fund.
The founder of RIFK is the Royal Malaysian family, headed by King Muhammad V, who ascended the throne in 2010. The fund focuses mainly on investments in financial technology, real estate, technology parks and manufacturing with an emphasis on green, commodity trading, software development and healthcare solutions. Earlier this year, the fund was licensed to operate The Royal Investment Bank of Kelantan in Malaysia. It operates in the Czech Republic and European Union countries through a licensed entity in Slovakia.
Castle Protivín was owned by Charles IV. Now it is being bought by the Malaysian Royal Fund
The Malaysian Royal Fund bought the Protivín Castle and the adjacent park. It wants to renovate the monument by 2023, the investment will be about half a billion crowns.
The castle, which once belonged to Charles IV, will join The Royal Capital Club, an investment programme founded by members of aristocratic families, including royal families from East Asia, and other investors. The owners intend to make part of the site accessible.
The new owner is the international investment group IC Group. It bought the castle for CZK 100 million. It wants to open it in the first half of next year.
"We were primarily looking for a building typical of the Czech country with a history and connection to important Czech rulers and families. An important argument was the building permit," said the architect of the project, Věra Nagyová from the Arch.IC studio.
Construction work on the Czech representation of the international investment project The Orb is divided into several phases. The complex will be surrounded by an English park and the historic cellars with vaulted ceilings will also come to life. The mansion will join the planned 12 headquarters of The Royal Capital Club around the world. Protivín is a pilot project, said Hana Tůmová on behalf of the investor.
The core of the monument is a Gothic, originally royal castle. It was rebuilt during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Two rococo rooms, a princess' room and a hall with a fireplace have been preserved. The castle also has a garden of more than seven hectares. The chateau belonged to the Luxembourg and Pernštejn families, and from 1710 to 1948 to the Schwarzenberg family.
The international investment group IC Group works with family investors and investment or banking structures that manage a global portfolio of 40 billion euros. The Group is headquartered in London, has over 15 offices worldwide, including the Czech Republic, and carries out investment projects in Europe, Malaysia, Central Asia, the Middle and Far East and South America.
The Royal Capital Club is a premium investment program that includes the Royal Invest Fund of Kelantan, a Malaysian fund established by the Sultan of the Northern State of Kelantan, King Muhammad V of Malaysia, who ruled the country from 2016 to 2019.